As I have published my short story, Courage, something keeps itching my brain. There is a stereotype regarding the type of woman who finds herself alone and abused, a stereotype which I have perpetuated. And the reality is that all people, men and woman, rich and poor, from the city and from the country, have suffered that humiliation and pain of abuse. So, I rewrite and re-post, one story next to the other. I wonder if it sounds any different.
She’s been thinking a lot about courage today. She didn’t think she was an especially courageous person. No, courage was not the characteristic about her that immediately sprang to mind.
She was many things. Many great things, perhaps. She didn’t really know. intelligent, maybe, and perhaps ambitious. She was lead in a merger last quarter which brought her acclaim from the partners. They said in the next review her shares would increase. She didn’t tell them the merger was less her success than the other counsel’s failure. So, maybe she wasn’t all that honest either.
But this morning, she thought of herself as courageous.
She, perhaps, had not been courageous the first time he hit her. The time she yelped as she was hit, before she learned that he enjoyed her cries of pain and surprise.
But today, she is courageous.
No, she had not been especially courageous the many times since the first time, when she slunk to the back bedroom and did her best to remain quiet, lest he hear her over the sound of the TV.
But today, the luggage was packed and sitting by the door, waiting for her to pick it up and walk out for good
Nor had she been especially courageous the last time, when she had to go to the hospital. The doctor had asked her what happened, but she simply said she accidentally stumbled down the front stoop. It was not very plausible. And she knew it. And the doctor knew it. And she knew the doctor knew it.
But today, she is courageous. And as she looked out across the city, she wondered what her new life would bring.